A Perspective On Where We Are On The Autonomous Vehicle Journey

Francesco Biondi doesn’t mince words in his recent assessment of autonomous vehicles both today and into the future. I looked back on my thoughts regarding this scenario in a recent post, concluding that self-driving cars have not evolved to where experts predicted. There was a lot of hype across industries regarding the disruptive potential of this one scenario. I remember the countless conversations about insurance premiums drying up, or how Internet companies would displace the automakers – so I get the skepticism. As Mr. Biondi asks: what went wrong?

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China Launches Autonomous Taxis

In a recent post, I Revisited Autonomous Vehicles. The conclusion is very apparent, we have not realized what many thought we would – at least not yet. But as I mentioned in that post, these scenarios move slowly and then suddenly. In an example of that phenomenon, China just launched an Autonomous Taxi service in Beijing. In a recent article, author Matthew Crisara said the following:

Baidu’s Apollo Go Robotaxi service is the first paid autonomous vehicle service where users can hop in a taxi without a backup driver to intervene. Customers will be able to hail a ride using an app, which allows them to locate a taxi within their vicinity. If they are unable to spot the car, users can remotely honk the horn to find their ride.

Matthew Crisara

The video below describes the new autonomous service.

Revisiting Autonomous Vehicles

In reflecting on thoughts from the previous decade, I looked back at Automation and Digital Transformation. Today I will focus on autonomous vehicles. I first wrote about them in 2014 when I looked at their Disruptive Potential. At the time, the compelling case for moving to full autonomy was truly clear. From the post:

In a recent book titled: The New Killer Apps: How Large Companies Can Out-Innovate Start-Ups, the authors (Chunka Mui and Paul Carroll) dig deeper into this topic. About 5.5 million U.S car accidents occurred in 2009 involving 9.5 million vehicles; the accidents killed 33,808 people and injured 2.2 million others. The total accident related costs in the U.S. are estimated to be roughly $450 billion.

Autonomous vehicles: a disruption case study

The focus was to shift to preventing crashes versus previous efforts to ensure accidents were survivable. Automobile makers would rethink the design and construction of cars from built to survive a crash, to built to avoid them. A report titled Preparing a Nation for Autonomous Vehicles predicted mass market adoption of autonomous vehicles between 2022 and 2025. My post mentioned announcements by Nissan and Volvo of their intentions to have commercially viable autonomous-driving capabilities by 2020. In their view back then, it would take an additional five years for prices to drop to allow for some degree of mass-market penetration.

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Revisiting Next Generation Automation

Back in 2014, the thought of advancements in automation was picking up steam. I wrote about a Next Generation Automation and focused on five primary drivers of advanced automation: the automation of knowledge work, advanced robotics, autonomous vehicles, the Internet of Things, and the mobile Internet. A McKinsey report from that period sized five disruptive technologies that could have an economic impact between $14 and $30 trillion. How much have we accomplished exactly seven years since that Blog post was written?

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The Autonomous Vehicle Has Arrived

“Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.” – Thomas Alva Edison

That is a quote from a recent Article on Waymo’s announcement of a Completely Driverless Service for the general public in Chandler, Tempe and Mesa Arizona. The quote addresses all the skepticism that has surrounded the move towards autonomous vehicles. Author Enrique Dans describes the emerging service and has a message for the naysayers:

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Revisiting the Intersections That Shape Our Future

The building blocks of our future are numerous, and they are intersecting in ways that drive rapid shifts. I Visualized this phenomenon a while back, trying to depict the complexity of our world and the challenges it represents. It was Futurist Gerd Leonhard that gave me the idea. As someone who used my Anchor Visual in keynotes, he reflected on how impactful it might be to demonstrate the convergence that was occurring across the visual.

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Nine Future Innovations That Will Change Urban Travel

Futuristic technologies and a new understanding of how our output impacts the world around us will change the face of transportation as we know it. New innovations hope to solve some of the biggest issues impacting transportation today by curbing pollution, reducing fatalities, and cutting down travel time.

Visionaries like Elon Musk are betting billions on big ideas that seem far fetched, but could become mainstream in the next few years. Hyperloop transportation tubes could be operating passenger services as early as 2021. These tubes would run at speeds of 600 mph or more and transport groups of passengers through pressurized tracks. Eventually, hyperloop hopes to tackle freight shipping too.

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An Animated Guide to Autonomous Driving

The future of cars is a popular topic these days. In a recent Article by Drew Page, he explores self-driving cars in detail, including the hardware, software, points of failure, issues, and levels of autonomy. The article uses this brilliant infographic from The Simple Dollar to describe these various areas. It is hard to get consensus from experts on when they envision full autonomy. In light of this, continuous education and awareness is critical, making articles such as this one critical. Although the benefits of full autonomy are fairly clear (a dramatic drop in auto fatalities, positive environmental impact, etc.), the risks are just as important to consider.

I highly recommend a quick read of the above mentioned article and a thoughtful journey through this infographic.

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Autonomous Vehicles and Strategic Choices

This Recent Article is the result of a collaborative effort between TCS and the Clayton Christensen Institute.  The article examines the strategic choices faced by various players in the emerging Mobility Ecosystem – viewed through the lens of the Theory of Disruptive Innovation. It outlines the best course of action for achieving long-term profitability in the ride-hailing market.

As with any future scenario, the variables that must be considered in determining the path of the scenario can be overwhelming – There is Peril in Predicting. However, inaction is not an option. Strategic choices must be explored.

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The Future of Cars: An Infographic

I recently came across a very good Infographic that describes the future of cars. Here is the abstract from the Carsurance website:


The future of cars undoubtedly seems exciting. Up to this point, cars were viewed primarily as a convenient method of transportation. The main advancements were made in reliability, safety, performance, and overall comfort. Carsurance InfographicHowever, the advent of the internet and artificial intelligence unlocked a whole new field of progress in the auto industry.

An automobile of the future is not just a machine for driving to your desired destination. It’s a fully automated system that makes all the decisions for you while you enjoy the latest content on its premium audio-visual system.

Want to change the route? Just give a verbal command and the cars of the future will know what to do. Worrying about crashing or getting a citation? The vehicles of tomorrow will carry self-driving software that is so reliable, humans do not even come close.

Reducing carbon emission is another crucial challenge for the car industry. Electric and hybrid cars, with their replicable batteries, seem like a convenient solution. However, future cars could rely on even more advanced fuels.

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Autonomous Vehicles and the Perils of Prediction

I am a big believer in rehearsing the future versus attempting to predict it. The wild swings we experience when following future scenarios can range from bold predictions of imminent manifestation to dire warnings that a scenario will never be realized. In this Recent Article, the author describes how the auto industry is rethinking the timetable to realizing level 5 autonomy. Turns out we underestimate the human intelligence required  to drive a car and overestimate our ability to replicate it. The article provides simple examples:

When a piece of cardboard blows across a roadway 200 yards ahead, for example, human drivers quickly determine whether they should run over it or veer around it. Not so for a machine. Is it a piece of metal? Is it heavy or light? Does a machine even “know” that a heavy chunk of metal doesn’t blow across the roadway? It’s a tougher problem.

Or how about this challenge that humans for the most part handle very well:

When a car arrives at a four-way stop at the same time as another vehicle, for example, it’s a dilemma for a machine. Human drivers tend to nod or make eye contact, but micro-controllers can’t do that.

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Supply Chain of the Future: Humans Optional?

As science and technology continue their rapid advance, traditional constructs are challenged; Supply chains are no exception. Here is a brief video that highlights many of the advances that transform how we think about supply chains in the future. As it wraps up, a curated set of videos that touch on several of these advances is provided. Special thanks to Bill Quinn, Rose Castellon-Rodriguez, and Kevin Mulcahy for producing the video.

Be sure to visit the Reimagining the Future YouTube Channel to explore additional topics.

Virtuous Cycles Accelerate Pace

In segment five of my interview with Chunka Mui, we discussed virtuous cycles and their ability to accelerate the pace of science, technology, and emerging future scenarios. Mr. Mui uses the driverless car to demonstrate the impact of these cycles, and the impact they have on emerging scenarios. In a Future Thinking context, analysis of these cycles must be part of our Rehearsing, or we will misjudge their timing and short term implications.

Chunka Mui is the managing director of the Devil’s Advocate Group, a consulting team that helps organizations design and stress test their innovation strategies. Mr. Mui published a popular book titled The New Killer Apps.

Segment five is a quick three minute video.

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The Emerging Mobility Ecosystem

In segment four of my interview with Chunka Mui, we discussed the ultimate demise of our industry construct and the emergence of horizontal ecosystems that remove friction from our life experiences – one experience at a time. This platform-enabled transition can be witnessed in action today, as we watch the Mobility ecosystem form one piece at a time. We can no longer think of industries in isolation, as we witness the collision of various industries and a reconfiguration of the money flow – over $2.5 Trillion in car-related economic value. Chunka uses the example of the collision between the automotive and technology ecosystems to describe  this phenomenon: the shift from cars with computers inside, to computers with wheels on them.

Chunka Mui is the managing director of the Devil’s Advocate Group, a consulting team that helps organizations design and stress test their innovation strategies. Mr. Mui published a popular book titled The New Killer Apps.

Segment four is a quick three minute video.

You can view segment one – Autonomous Vehicles: An Interview with Chunka Mui – here.

You can view segment two – Reimagining Our Driverless Future – here.

You can view segment three – The Ripple Effect – here.

Download A PDF Version of the transcript.

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The Ripple Effect

In segment three of my interview with Chunka Mui, we discussed the ripple effect that occurs with emerging scenarios, in this case, the driverless car. Chunka Mui is the managing director of the Devil’s Advocate Group, a consulting team that helps organizations design and stress test their innovation strategies. Mr. Mui published a popular book titled The New Killer Apps.

What fascinates me about these scenarios is the sheer breadth and depth of societal impact. In this segment, Chunka Mui does a great job of describing this impact. Here is a seven minute animated version of our discussion that picks up where segment two left off:

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Reimagining Our Driverless Future

In segment two of my interview with Chunka Mui, we picked up our conversation with the driverless car scenario. Chunka Mui is the managing director of the Devil’s Advocate Group, a consulting team that helps organizations design and stress test their innovation strategies. Mr. Mui published a popular book titled The New Killer Apps.

Key points of discussion were:

  • If we eliminate auto fatalities, what happens to the need for auto insurance?
  • How to think about the timing of the autonomous vehicle scenario
  • The arms race towards the automotive ecosystem
  • Eliminating 90% of human accidents is plausible
  • Critical mass not needed to feel the impact of this scenario
  • From predicting to rehearsing – a portfolio of options
  • Understanding milestones, markers, obstacles and accelerants
  • Understanding extreme scenarios
  • Understanding the path of science and technology

Here is a six minute animated version of our segment two discussion that picks up where segment one left off:

You can view segment one here.

Download A PDF Version of the Transcript

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Autonomous Vehicles: An Interview with Chunka Mui

The convergence that is steering our emerging future manifests itself through a number of scenarios that drive multiple paradigm shifts. As the shifts themselves converge, they intensify the critical need for leaders to think differently about a world where the future arrives faster than people think. Some time ago, I had a great conversation with Chunka Mui regarding pace, the sheer number of shifts, and the need to think differently. We used the autonomous vehicle to explore the challenges of our emerging future. I will present the full discussion in five short segments, along with white board animation to visualize our dialog.

Chunka Mui is the managing director of the Devil’s Advocate Group, a consulting team that helps organizations design and stress test their innovation strategies. As a consultant on strategy and innovation, Mr. Mui has spent considerable time analyzing the autonomous vehicle scenario. He asked a question in his book The New Killer Apps about autonomous vehicles and what happens if traffic accidents are reduced by 90% as Google predicts. This simple question makes visible the broad and deep implications of these future scenarios. As society responds to their implications, new ecosystems emerge that alter our world. In this case, the vehicle is one of numerous components of an emerging mobility ecosystem that is defined by the responses that are playing out right now.

Here is the first of the five segments:

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The Growth of the Autonomous Car Market

In the last three years, I have written about the emerging Mobility Ecosystem and its Disruptive Potential. In 2016, we witnessed the acceleration of this future scenario and the movement from science fiction to something that feels very real. Here is a great infographic that looks broadly at the autonomous car market, the many financial, practical and scientific challenges involved in the development of these vehicles, and these other topics:

  • The history of autonomous cars
  • The challenges involved in engineering the coveted autonomous car
  • How DARPA have been involved in testing driverless cars
  • The advent of Google X
  • The science behind autonomous vehicles
  • What the future holds for the autonomous car market
  • Which car brands have driving patents for autonomous vehicles
  • The projected launch date for driverless card (for test or commercial purpose)
  • Projected market penetration of autonomous cars in the UK
  • SAE levels explained

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Artificial Intelligence Intersects with Autonomous Vehicles

 

In his tenth post in the series, Marshall Kirkpatrick focuses on the intersection between artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles. By way of reminder, Marshall launched a 30 day series that explores the intersection between AI and the various innovation components on my emerging futures visual.

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Connecting Dots

I participated in a radio show yesterday brought to you by Coffee Break with Game Changers. The show was hosted by Bonnie D. Graham and is now available on-demand here. When asked about a leadership trait required to effectively navigate our exponential future, I echoed something I have positioned many times via this Blog: Connecting Dots. The speed dimension that has accelerated our pace will put those dots in constant motion – so it’s a continuous state of connecting that makes this more challenging than our forward looking efforts of the past. The foundation for this argument was positioned in my post describing how Disruptive Power Lies at the Intersections. This visual from that post leverages my anchor visual on our emerging future.disruptive-power

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